Man heading to prison for sex crimes involving online extortion

A former Whidbey Island resident who blackmailed girls and women across the country will likely be spending more than five years in prison, court documents indicate.

Gabriel Shiver, 29, threatened to post compromising images of the victims online in order to compel them to provide him with nude photos or sexual favors.

Shiver pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court July 28 to possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct in the second degree, possession of stolen property in the third degree, extortion in the second degree with sexual motivation and five additional counts of extortion in the second degree.

Under the terms of the plea bargain, both the prosecution and defense will recommend that Shiver be sentenced to 70 months in prison and be ordered to pay restitution as well as fines and fees.

Since Shiver pleaded guilty to sex crimes, the Department of Corrections has to complete a pre-sentence report. The sentencing hearing was scheduled for Sept. 8.

According to a report by a detective with the Island County Sheriff’s Office, a woman came forward in May of 2019 and reported being extorted by an unknown person over Facebook. The detective uncovered evidence that the man, identified as Shiver, had been blackmailing a series of people he encountered online. Two of his victims were children.

Shiver obtained potentially embarrassing images from the girls and women through the course of their interactions, then used the threat to “publicly disclose photographs and videos of these victims in order to coerce further sexual favors and ultimately control the victim’s lives,” according to a motion for a search warrant. In many cases, the “sexual favors” involved online video chat in which he directed them to do sexual acts.

“Shiver’s collection of coerced images and videos includes images of minors, and it includes images and videos of victims engaging in acts which were intended by Shiver to debase those victims and to cause acute shame,” the motion for a search warrant states.

The detective’s report describes escalating threats and demands in online conversations between Shiver and his victims. The report details one video of extreme degradation in which the woman is visibly sobbing.

Law enforcement seized Shiver’s numerous computer and electronic devices when serving a search warrant at his Tacoma residence in November 2019. Court documents indicate that less than a month after the search warrant was issued, Shiver obtained another device and communicated with one of his victims.

Shiver will have to register as a sex offender after serving his sentence.

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